The White House’s “secret” documents are “very, very big,” the former CIA chief says.
And they’re not just any old documents.
They’re documents that were created, drafted, and reviewed over a very long period of time, by the very people who were in the room when the president signed them.
“These documents, like the Watergate files, are incredibly valuable,” the retired CIA chief said on ABC’s “This Week” Sunday.
“And we really need to make sure that they’re protected from unauthorized disclosure.”
Read moreHere’s how the president’s secret documents relate to the recent scandal over his former national security adviser Michael Flynn:Trump has claimed in the past that he and his family were unaware of Flynn’s dealings with Russia, though he has not said whether he knew of the Russian president’s involvement in a 2015 meeting between Trump Jr. and Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak.
Firing Flynn and firing Flynn’s former national-security adviser, Keith Kellogg, is the latest episode in a series of Trump scandals involving his family’s financial dealings, family members’ political donations, and the administration’s handling of the opioid crisis.
In his appearance on ABC, former CIA director Mike Pompeo echoed the president, saying that “there is nothing classified” in Flynn’s documents, though they were produced “under the most sensitive and high-level security clearance.”
But Pompeo added, “There are documents that the president has released, and that are clearly not classified.”
He also said, “In fact, I’m very confident that, as I understand it, those documents are being shared with our colleagues around the world.
I’m confident that the people who have access to these documents have access, and I think they have a right to know about them.”
The “white papers” that the CIA director refers to are memos written between January and April, in which Trump’s team assessed Flynn’s contacts with Russian officials and assessed that they posed a “national security threat” to the United States.
According to Pompeo, the “white paper” that Flynn’s team wrote “contained no classified information.”
“There are also documents that are in the possession of the White house, in fact,” Pompeo said.
“I think the best way to describe that is that these documents are very, very large documents that we have a very high level of confidence that they are not classified.
I think that is a fair characterization.
And it’s also a fair assessment that these are documents of the highest integrity.”
Pompeo said that “the White House has an interest in this,” pointing to the White Senate and White House Counsel’s Office as “part of the executive branch, in the intelligence community.”
He also noted that Flynn has repeatedly called the White Houses claims that he was unaware of the Russians’ involvement “ridiculous,” though Trump “is not averse to being called ridiculous.”
“I think that we should always be wary of this claim, and we should never take it at face value,” Pompey said.
But he did say that the WhiteHouse “should be more careful” with the way it uses its “whitepapers,” because “there are multiple layers of protection, and there is a real risk of the documents falling into the wrong hands.”